Text description provided by the architects. Kokaistudios has completed the interior design of Porterhouse by Laris, a brand new steakhouse located in Lan Kwai Fong Group’s new California Tower in Central, a destination quickly becoming Hong Kong’s hottest dining hub. The restaurant is Kokaistudios’latest project in the city as they continue to spread their footprint with bespoke and iconic hospitality designs in Asia.
With an established breadth of food and beverage venues in Hong Kong, Eclipse Hospitality Group was looking to create the defining premium steakhouse for the city, led by acclaimed Chef David Laris. No stranger to discerning diners, Chef Laris has been serving his internationally acclaimed modern Australian cuisine at self-branded eateries since 2004. The client was looking for the highest calibre international design talent to bring fresh ideas on how to revolutionise steakhouse designs when they were introduced to Kokaistudios by the landlord of California Tower, Lan Kwai Fong Group. With renowned restaurants and bars such as Mr & Mrs Bund and Bar Rouge in their portfolio, Kokaistudios proved the perfect fit, proposing a further developed concept for both steaks and seafood, to enrich the restaurant’s offerings with visionary interiors to deliver the idea.
Within a relatively confined floor plate, Kokaistudios designed the layout of Porterhouse by Laris meticulously to include all the features - chef’s counter, meat locker, main dining room, lounge, semi-private dining room, terrace and bar in a progressive flow of diner experience. Kokaistudios’breadth of expertise in hospitality operations uniquely equipped them with the ability to create a functional and beautiful space for Chef Laris, that has both defined and collective modes of dining experience.
In placing a high table at the lift lobby as extension to the terrace - separated only by concertina doors - guests are immediately immersed in the bustling environment of the restaurant. The terrace can also be opened up entirely to increase its capacity on in fine and ambient weather. The main dining room consists of the bar, dining area, meat cabinet, chef’s counter and an open kitchen behind glass. Enjoying a striking and exceptionally rare 6-metre ceiling height, the space is magnified by a parametric, three dimensional ceiling in mirror, brass and grey timber that intentionally compresses the dining space to augment the vibrancy and animation.
Towards the lift lobby is the bar, serving signature and classic cocktails, with a concealed DJ booth, which functions independently from the restaurant for aperitifs or guests who are there for drinks only. Designing with guests’viewing aspects in mind, Kokaistudios’laid out the furniture so that everyone in the main dining area can see the open kitchen, whilst the bar and lift lobby that are visually screened by a woven leather partition. The lounge and the intimate semi-private dining room for 26 are placed exclusively to the rear of the glazed light core, shielded by translucent metallic curtains from the activity outside.
Other design features include the wine cellar feature wall behind the chef’s counter, where the freshest seafood is displayed and prepared on the astounding white marble station, reinforcing the butchery and food preparation ambience. The feature wall with its customised cabinet holds a collection of 800 bottles at three different temperatures. The key visual feature at the end of the main dining room is a custom designed meat locker, displaying the prime cuts of chops and steaks together with leather goods and accessories, celebrating the wonders of the beast and the artisanal skills of leather-craft. The main dining room has expansive floor to ceiling windows overlooking the vibrant streets of Lan Kwai Fong seven storeys below. By day, they capture people’s reflections, and inject a soft and natural light in the restaurant for lunch goers. By night, the lighting system with concealed track light and pendant lamps form a warmer atmosphere for dinner, and a sexier and livelier mood for the post-dinner crowd.
A conscious choice of simple and sophisticated colour palette accentuates the materials employed, heightening the texture and diners’tactile senses as they feel the beast everywhere. The wide grey wood table top mimics the butcher’s table whilst the leather chairs - with handles referencing luxury handbags - have the touch of the best calfskin. The brass finishes of the cabinets, the black metal and the metallic fabric exude refinement and correspond with the copper facade of the host building, the California Tower. A further highlight of the restaurant is the wall-mounted sculpture of light by Berlin-based artist, Brittany Gould. Sited between the main dining room and semi-private dining space, the large-scale artwork complements the restaurant’s ceiling design, continuing the parametric motif with warm light emanating from within its complex, patterned form.
In Hong Kong’s busy and sophisticated culinary market, where dining is an important part of the culture and new restaurants crop up everyday, Kokaistudios and Chef Laris have refreshed the traditional concept of steakhouses by setting a new paradigm of the steakhouse through Porterhouse by Laris. Its ultra-sleek interior creates a luxurious and comfortable tone for diners to enjoy the specially-curated menu by Chef Laris. The project was completed in a mere six months from first meeting, only made possible by the close collaboration between the designer, the client and the Chef with the highest levels of efficiency and professionalism. Porterhouse by Laris highlights once again Kokaistudios’ expertise in crafting exceptional, bespoke destinations and delivering original concepts for culinary masters of the world.